Recipes » Food Dictionary
Adjust the seasoning
To taste the dish before serving to determine the need for salt, herbs, or other seasonings.
An Italian phrase meaning “to the tooth”, used to describe pasta or any other food that is cooked only until it offers some resistance between the teeth as you bite it.
Bain Marie / Double-Boiler
A hot-water bath cooking technique using 2 pans to gently cook foods. Hot water is placed in the bottom pan over the heat source, while the food to be cooked is nestled in the top pan. This allows gentle cooking without scorching.
To mix thoroughly with a spoon, whisk, or beaters until smooth and well combined.
[pronounced burr mahn-YAY] A paste made with softened butter and flour (usually in equal parts) that is used to thicken sauces. The beurre manié (French for “kneaded butter”) must be added slowly to a hot or warm liquid, so that the butter melts and releases the flour particles without creating lumps (which would happen if stirring in just the flour).
To plunge raw food into boiling water briefly, then into cold water to stop the cooking process. The purpose may be to do one of the following: to soften or partially cook, to loosen skins, to heighten and set colour and flavour, to reduce a pungent flavour, or to cook completely.
A small electrical appliance with short rotating blades used to chop, blend, purée and liquefy foods. The hand-held “immersion” type is the most practical, since it may be immersed right into a pot of soup (or other mixture) to chop or purée the contents.
A flavourful liquid resulting from slowly cooking meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables in water. It is often used instead of water to cook food, or as a base for sauces and soups. The easiest way to prepare a broth is to dilute some concentrated broth or cubes with boiling water: just follow the instructions on the package.
To cook quickly over high heat at the beginning or end of a preparation in order to enhance flavour, texture, and appearance.
A kitchen utensil that assists with basting, which is a method of moistening food during the cooking process. Basting is most often used when cooking meat. The head of the bulb baster is squeezed, creating a partial vacuum, and then the stem is inserted into the juices at the bottom of the pan. When the pressure is released on the bulb, the juices are drawn into the stem so they can be transferred over and around the meat, adding flavour and creating a glaze.
To split a food down the center, cutting almost but not entirely through it. The two parts are then opened flat to resemble a butterfly shape.
Refers to both a baking dish and the ingredients it contains. A “casserole dish” usually is a deep, round, ovenproof container with handles and a tight-fitting lid. It can be made of glass, metal, ceramic or any other heatproof material. A casserole’s ingredients can include meat, vegetables, beans, rice, and is often topped by cheese or breadcrumbs.
A chipotle is a smoke-dried jalapeño pepper that tends to be brown and shriveled. A key ingredient of Mexican and Mexican-inspired cuisines, chipotle imparts a relatively mild but earthy spiciness to many dishes. It is currently stored in a red sauce (adobo) of tomato puree and onions, and sold in small cans. You can find it in any grocery store that carries ethnic food.
To cut into irregular pieces (either finely or coarsely).
To evenly cover food with flour or crumbs. An easy way to do this is to pour some flour or crumbs into a shallow dish or on a paper towel to allow room to turn the food and spread the coating on all sides.
Coat the back of a spoon
A technique used to test the doneness of cooked, egg-based sauces and custards, i.e. the sauce is done when it leaves an even path on the spoon when finger is drawn.
A perforated, bowl-shaped container used for draining liquid from solids, It can be made of metal, plastic, or ceramic.
A knife or other instrument designed to remove the core from fruit or vegetables. It is usually made of stainless steel and comes in different shapes. An all-purpose corer has a medium-length shaft with a circular cutting ring at the end.
[pronounced: Coor-BOO-Eey-OHN] A vegetable broth used for poaching fish and seafood. For fish, make sure to add the fish to cold broth. Alternately, seafood is plunged into boiling broth. Ready-to-use dehydrated court-bouillon is available in cubes or bags.
[pronounced koo-LEE] A general term referring to a thick purée or sauce, such as a raspberry coulis.
To beat one or more ingredients until the mixture is soft, homogeneous, and smooth, i.e. “creamy”, showing neither separation nor evidence of any particles.
To cook food in hot, liquid fat, with the food totally submerged.
To pour liquid into a skillet after food has been sautéed or fried. By heating and stirring the browned residues on the bottom are dissolved.
A rich sauce made of beef stock, vegetables, herbs, and roux slowly cooked (3 to 5 hours over very low heat) until it’s reduced by half to a thick glaze. The term comes from the French word glace, which, when used in reference to sauces, meaning icing or glaze. The intense flavour of demi-glace is used as a base for many other sauces. Ready-to-use demi-glace sauce may be bought at the meat counter (refrigerated), or in a packet, which can be found in the non-perishables section of the grocery store. Demi-glace keeps for about 3 months in the refrigerator or up to 9 months in the freezer.
To remove the intestinal vein of a shrimp or other crustaceans. The gray-black vein on the back of the shrimp may be removed with the tip of a sharp knife or using a special instrument, called a deveiner. It is important to devein large shrimp because their veins contain grit; for small and medium shrimp, this technique is not necessary but may be done for esthetic purposes.
Very small, as in finely chopped, but not as small as minced.
Fish stock / Fumet
Also called “fumet” [pronounced: foo-MAY], concentrated stock made from fish bones and heads, slowly cooked with aromatic vegetables. It is used to poach fish and seafood or to add flavour to sauces. Ready-to-use fumet is available in concentrated powder or cubes.
A kitchen utensil used to mash cooked food such as potatoes or soups. By using a hand-turned paddle to force food through a strainer plate at the bottom, skin, seeds, and fibre are removed.
An electrical appliance with a closed container and interchangeable blades that can chop, blend, shred, purée, or otherwise process food at high speed.
To cook food in fat that does not cover the food over moderate to high heat (also called pan fry) or sauté when particularly quick.
A kitchen utensil used to press a garlic clove through small holes, extracting both pulp and juice. Cloves do not need to be peeled, but the press must be cleaned right after using it, before any garlic fragments left in the tool dry. Some press models contain teeth that push any remaining fragments back out through the holes, making cleaning much easier.
Herbes de Provence
Is a mixture of dried herbs typical of Provence, used to flavour grilled foods, as well as stews. Typically it contains savory, fennel, basil, thyme, and other herbs.
To cut food into long thin matchlike strips, approximately 3 mm wide and 4-5 cm long; Julienne – Foods that have been cut into thin, matchstick strips (most often used as a garnish or in soups).
To soak fruit or other food in liquid to infuse it with its flavour.
A tool usually made with a sturdy handle and a striking surface used to flatten thin cuts of meat or poultry. Also called a meat pounder.
A hand-operated slicing and cutting apparatus, used to cut fruits and vegetables evenly.
A seasoned liquid, often containing an acid, in which meat, fish, or vegetables are soaked (marinated) before cooking.
To soak meat, fish, or vegetables in a seasoned liquid mixture (marinade) in order to absorb its flavours or, in the case of a tough cut of meat, to tenderize. Because most marinades are acid, this operation should be done in a glass, ceramic, or stainless-steel container — never in aluminum.
A small, bowl-shaped tool used to cut oval- or round-shaped pieces of melon, or other fruits and vegetables, mostly for decoration.
Is a potpourri of young, small salad greens.
Muffin pan / Muffin Tin
A special baking pan with 6 or 12 cup-shaped depressions that hold the muffin or any individual cakes. Each standard cup is about 7 cm in diameter.
Any of various electrical appliances used to beat, mix, whisk or whip foods. There are two major kinds: stationary (or stand) and portable (or hand-held). The stand ones are more powerful, but they also take up more counter space. Portable ones can be used anywhere, mainly on smaller tasks, since their motor is small.
A spread made with pureed olives and olive oil. Good prepared olive paste, imported from Italy, France or Greece, is available at gourmet and specialty stores. The homemade version is made by finely chopping, crushing or blending good quality pitted olives (e.g. Kalamata), then adding olive oil until the mixture becomes a paste. Whether homemade or commercial, olive paste will keep for a couple of months in the refrigerator.